“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” – C.S. Lewis
By Dawn Onley
I hated naps as a kid. I was always afraid I was going to miss the action. Plus, naps were for babies.
My mother understood the importance of kids getting their proper rest. And, she needed her sanity. So off to la la land I went, begrudgingly. Now as a mom, I see the same naptime reluctance in my son. I know that he will soon outgrow naps, just as he outgrows his clothes, and this will mark yet another milestone in his young life – one in which he exerts his independence in choosing his outfits and giving voice to the things he wants to do.
It is all happening right in front of our eyes, yet gradual changes are the hardest to see. When he talks, I can still see the toddler who would stop me and inquire about every image of “Goodnight Moon,” before he finally let me finish reading.
The levels from childhood to young adult speed by, so I’ve been told. I see it in the school pictures from year to year. I hear it in his growing vocabulary and never-ending curiosity. How the once oversized car seat now is almost too snug. How the huge boots that sat in his closet for over a year now fit perfectly.
I feel it in his encouraging words to me. “Mommy, I have faith in you,” he told me the other night, causing me to stare in silent amazement as he rubbed my arm in a comforting way. He’s becoming a little person. When did this happen?
He wants to take the bus to school, he told me recently. There is no bus to his pre-school right now, but he wanted me to know that he’s becoming a big boy and big boys take the bus.
One day, he’ll lose his teeth and his mouth will make room for bigger ones.
One day, he’ll stop running to greet me, allowing me to pick him up and kiss his cheeks. He’ll want to be cool in front of his friends.
He won’t always believe in Santa or need me to tuck him in at night.
Before long, he’ll need less and less of me.
I already know this. It aches.
From the moment they are born to when they leave the nest, parenthood is a series of gains and losses – losing the baby to the toddler and losing the toddler to kindergarten, gaining an elementary school kid only to lose him to middle school. And on and on.
It’s the same with life. I’m at an age now that I once viewed as old when I was a child. It didn’t seem like it took that long to get here. But time just keeps on ticking.
Yesterday, when he finally drifted off to sleep, I wished I had savored more naps.